Further increases to bus fares are short-sighted and will drive more Wellingtonians to use their cars, the Green Party said today.
“If the Regional Council is genuine about wanting to grow bus patronage, increasing fares by as much as 50 per cent will be a disaster,” said Green Party spokesperson Sue Kedgley.
“Lower numbers of people using the buses will lead to further fare rises, and you quickly spiral into a vicious cycle of patronage loss, service cutbacks, and further congestion on our roads as more and more people take cars rather than public transport.”
Increasing fares at a time when actual service levels are falling is another slap in the face for Wellington’s commuters, said Ms Kedgley.
“Buses frequently don’t run on time, and we’re still waiting for real time information at bus stops to tell passengers how long they will have to wait for the next bus. And a single ticket that will cover multiple trips on different modes is still a pipe dream.”
“Passengers will be left scratching their head wondering where the extra value for money is coming from with their increased fares.”
The Green Party is concerned that hidden subsidies for car drivers make driving a comparatively cheaper option over more sustainable commuting alternatives like public transport, walking, and cycling. Until the cost of driving reflects the true costs of pollution, urban sprawl, and land used unproductively for car parking, public transport will struggle to be competitive with driving.
Green’s alternative plan for Wellington’s transport problems: